For many parents, choosing a baby’s name is a big challenge. It’s important to choose something unique and meaningful and literary names for boys are excellent inspirations. Think of your favorite books and stories. What characters’ names are tasteful and resonate with you? You can look to stories from your childhood that made an impression on you and think of some of the names from them to help you find the best appellation for your baby.
Also, consider the names of famous writers you enjoy. Does the name Oscar Wilde appeal to you? Perhaps Oscar would make an excellent name for your son. Don’t just consider first names. If you’re a big fan of a writer like James Baldwin, consider naming your child Baldwin. His nickname could be, “Win.” Let’s take a look at some inspired options to get those creative juices flowing!
If You Love Books, You Should Consider These Amazing Literary Names for Boys.
Henrik might seem like an odd name but it belonged to one of the most influential playwrights of all time, Henrik Ibsen. Known as the “father of realism,” Ibsen brought modernist views to the theater. For fans of A Doll’s House, Henrik would make the best name for a boy. Henrik is a Danish form of Henry, meaning “estate ruler.”
For fans of Greek mythology, Athos was the name of one of the Gigantes. Additionally, Alexandre Dumas gave the name Athos to a father figure in The Three Musketeers. Athos has a classical sound to it and any child with the name would definitely stand out. It’s one of the literary names for boys with a great meaning in “holy mountain.”
Author E.B. White’s first name was Elwyn. White wrote children’s classics, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. His stories of charismatic animals that have to make decisions just like people do entertain and educate children still today. Elwyn is a name of Welsh origin, meaning “elf friend.” Elwyn is one of the subtle literary names for boys.
The Huxley Family was a British family comprised of members who excelled at science, medicine, art, and literature. Aldous Huxley was the esteemed writer of the family and published many novels. His most famous, Brave New World paints a dystopian picture for future societies. Huxley’s writing saw him nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature seven times. Huxley is of English origin and means “inhospitable place.”
When you hear the name, Augustus you might immediately think of the first Emporer of ancient Rome. But, there’s much more to the name and we think it’s time for it to make a comeback. In part, because the nickname “Gus” would just be too cute for a baby. Augustus is a popular character name found in The Fault in Our Stars, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Harry Potter series. The appellation means “magnificent.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is an American classic. Fitzgerald proves one of the most evocative literary names for boys. The name is of Irish origin and means “son of Gerald.” We love the nickname Fitz and we imagine many new parents will as well.
For the romantics out there, Heathcliff is one of the best literary names for boys that parents are overlooking. The passionate, sexy hero of Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff really shines in the first acts. Although Heathcliff’s luck takes a turn and his character devolves into an anti-hero, we can all remember the Heathcliff that passionately loved Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff is an English habitational name, meaning “cliff near a heath.”
Beckett is most commonly known as an English surname. Think of Nobel Prize-winning writer, Samuel Beckett. Beckett wrote the classic, Waiting for Gadot. He is such a treasure to Ireland they named a major bridge for him. There are plenty of other notable Becketts, many of whom are Irish. If you’ve got Irish ancestry and would like to honor it, Beckett might be one of the best literary names for boys for your family. Beckett’s Irish roots translate to “beehive.”
For readers, William should be an extremely familiar name. Think of William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, William Faulkner, and W.B. Yeats. In addition to being the name of some of the world’s most famous writers, there are some famous characters named William as well. William Boldwood in Far From the Madding Crowd and William from the Just William series are two great examples. William is a Germanic name that means “resolute protector.”
One of the literary names for boys with the most romance is Romeo. The name is of Italian origin and means “pilgrim of Rome.” If you love the classic play from Shakespeare, the name could very well work for your family.
Atticus is one of the doubly appropriate literary names for boys. It names a character in Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird fame and also a Roman literary figure, Titus Pomponius Atticus. Atticus is of Latin origin and means “man from Attica.”
Sawyer became a popular given name for boys in the early 1990s. It’s more popular today than ever before. Sawyer is an occupational name that means “lumberjack.” The character, Tom Sawyer and his many adventures make it one of the literary names for boys.
Dorian was unveiled as a first name by Oscar Wilde in his 1890 novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian is an Ancient name that belonged to an Ancient Greek tribe. The name means “stranger,” or “gift,” or “of Doris.”
Harry Potter fans have a very British name to contemplate in Harry. The Brits love nickname-names and Harry is one of their favorites as a diminutive form of Harold and Henry. The name means “estate ruler.”
Another one of the literary names for boys that starts with H, Holden holds promise for parents who love J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield is the sort of hero name that parents have begun to flock to today. Holden is an English habitational appellation that means “hollow valley.”
From a vampire in the late Anne Rice’s telling to a beloved character in Les Miserables, Marius is an appellation with some serious literary cred. Marius is an Ancient Roman name that is related to the god of war, Mars. Thus, the name means “warrior” or “warlike.”
Orlando is one of the most used literary names for boys. The name can be found in the poem, “Orlando Furioso,”, Handel’s opera Orlando, Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Further, the appellation was used in Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name. Orlando is an Italian twist on the Germanic name, Roland. It means “famous throughout the land.”
For Jane Austen fans, Darcy names one of the writer’s most cherished heroes. Darcy is a name of French origin, meaning “of Arcy.” Darcy was once only used for baby boys but today, parents are choosing it more for their little girls. Thus, it could be one of the best literary names for boys that also can be given to girls.
Ishmael is most familiar from the line “Call me Ishmael,” the opening phrase spoken by the narrator of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Ishmael has never been a widely popular appellation in the US but its Spanish form Ismael does rank in the US top-1000. The appellation is of Hebrew origin and means “God will hear.”
Corin, a Latin name meaning “spear,” was used by Shakespeare in As You Like It. It presents a welcome alternative to Corey as sort of the combination of Colin and Corey. The name has never been a popular choice in the US but we think it’s time for that to change. Shakespeare fans, you know what to do!
One of Alexandre Dumas’ swaggering Three Musketeers, Aramis is one of the most underutilized literary names for boys. It appears the name was invented by the author which makes it even more special.
A literary name appearing in the story of Ben Hur and the novels of Anthony Trollope, Quintus has a timeless appeal, perfect for a boy born on the fifth or in May. Quintus is of Latin origin and means “fifth.”
One of our favorite literary names for boys, Amory is a solid appellation of German origin that means “productive.” Amory Blaine is the protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, This Side of Paradise. Despite its literary cred, the name has somehow never been a popular choice for baby boys in the US.
Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is the protagonist of Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoyevsky. Rodion is a Russian name from Greek that means “song of the hero.” Rodion is virtually unknown by many American parents and it has never been a popular option. However, parents in Russia love it!
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Tristram Shandy names a character in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Tristram is one of the great literary names for boys that has been overshadowed by its cousin, Tristan. Tristram is of Medieval English origin and means “noise” and “sorrowful.”
There you go! Did these literary names for boys make you want to crack open a book? We certainly hope you feel inspired by these appellations and will consider them for your son. Turning to literature for baby name inspiration is always a smart idea. So, be sure to consider your favorite books and turn to them for possible baby names.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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